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Rail management and the union representing signal workers settled a pay and conditions dispute early Wednesday that had closed most of the country's rail network for 19 strike days in the past three months.

The union immediately called off plans for a new strike Thursday and Friday, and its leaders said they would recommend that the members ratify the agreement, reached after seven straight days of talks with mediators.Both sides in the dispute claimed victory. Railtrack, the government-owned company that controls the rail infrastructure, said the deal included an average 3.4 percent increase in signal worker's earnings and was similar to an offer made 15 weeks earlier.